Men's Volleyball
    No. 11 UCLA Men's Volleyball Defeats Short-handed USC

    Brooks Varni
    Feb. 22, 2015

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    The No. 11-ranked UCLA men's volleyball team beat short-handed No. 3 USC, 25-15, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22 in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Sunday (Feb. 22).

    UCLA improved to 8-5 overall and 4-5 in the MPSF. The Trojans, who lost their third consecutive match after starting the season 7-0 (their best start since 1991), fell to 9-4 overall and 8-4 in the MPSF. The victory gave the Bruins 5 points in the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup all-sports competition between the schools, which UCLA now leads 65-20.

    The Trojans played without 2 key players, as All-American and USA national team starting setter Micah Christenson was out with an acute sinus infection and opposite hitter Josh Kirchner had an ankle sprain he suffered in practice.

    Jon Rivera, in his first career start, led the Trojans with 15 kills and he also had 6 digs and 5 blocks. Alex Slaught added 9 kills for the Trojans, Brooks Varni had 11 digs, Christopher Orenic had 8 digs and Robert Feathers had 6 blocks.

    For UCLA, Jake Arnitz had 16 kills and 3 aces, while Christian Hessenauer had 12 kills, 13 digs and 4 aces, Hagen Smith had 11 blocks, Mitch Stahl had 8 blocks and J.T. Hatch had 8 digs.

    Neither team hit well in the match, with UCLA at .200 and USC at .118. UCLA had more blocks (15.0 to 9.5) and aces (9 to 3).

    UCLA used a pair of 5-0 runs to first go up 7-4 and then 17-10 in the first set and the Trojans couldn't catch up as the Bruins hit .318 and had 8.0 blocks. USC built a 14-9 lead in the second set, but UCLA caught up at 19-19, went up 22-21 and then used an ace to gain a 24-22 cushion, enabling the Bruins to close out the set despite the Trojans hitting .391 and getting 11 digs. In the third set, USC scored 4 consecutive points to go ahead 13-10 and held off the Bruins while getting 4.0 blocks. UCLA had a 4-0 run in the fourth set to forge a 12-8 lead and extended it to 19-12 before the Trojans closed to 21-19, but USC couldn't quite overcome the Bruins, who had 4 aces in the set.

    USC now has a week off before resuming MPSF play with home matches in the Galen Center against No. 4 UC Irvine on March 3 and UC San Diego on March 4.